It’s all in the numbers

I’m a word person. Always have been. Give me a pencil and a paper and I’m happy. Numbers are not so much my thing. Oh, to be sure they’re very useful and we use them every day. But get too many in one place and my eyes start to glaze over.

Consider for example this number: 49,151,065. Put a dollar sign in front of that, and you have the average total compensation received by the CEO of Canadian Pacific Railway last year, according to data collected by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. Can’t even begin to imagine.

The number 143,199 is a big one. That was a record-breaking number of tweets in one second, recorded in August 2013 by the gurus at Twitter. Kind of a fun fact, even if it does say something about how we’re using our time.

Some of the “trivia” just makes one feel sick.

There’s 4,000. That’s the (likely conservative and likely to grow) number of Aboriginal children who died in the residential school system, as detailed in a yet-to-be-released report coming from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

Or how about 2, 123? That’s the number of Christians martyred for their faith in 2013, twice the number killed in 2012, according to the 2014 World Watch List from Open Doors International.

Get your head around this one: $31 billion US. That’s the amount of revenue brought in by human trafficking each year.

Overwhelmed yet? I am. These are just a few of the examples of the numbers that flash across our consciousness every day. So much decadence at one end, so much terror at the other. Throw away the paper, shut down the computer, turn off the phone; make it go away!

But we can’t. Instead, what we really need to do is remember this: the most important number is one. Long ago one little baby grew to become the Man who would change the world. Today, each one of us is called to follow in His steps.

We can’t make those numbers go away overnight. But each one of us can do something, maybe small, maybe large, but something.

ChristianWeek is one place to find lots of great ideas to get you started. For example, in this issue we’re telling the story of Jay and Michelle Brock, a Canadian husband and wife team who were compelled to do something about prostitution and human trafficking. Their organization and newly-released documentary are raising awareness across the country.

Visit your local Missionfest events. If you were in Winnipeg this February, a special focus on human trafficking and the organizations working to fight this scourge sought to inspire and inform. Toronto, Vancouver, and Montreal (among other locations) host similar events.

Want some more ideas? Read on. Visit us online. And start thinking about what you can do! In a world drowning in numbers, be the one to stand up and make a change. You may be one, but you’re not alone. There are about 2.2 billion Christians on Earth…and that’s some serious numerical power.

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About the author

Kelly Rempel is the Senior Editor for ChristianWeek.